Next Entrepreneurs is a student start-up event that prepares Generation Z for tomorrow's world. For the first time it was also found on the OutDoor by ISPO where it linked the outdoor industry with the digital natives.
There, two international student teams aged 14 to 17 years developed an app-based concept for their perfect outdoor weekend in only three days - on the last day of the trade fair they presented it to the jury and the public.
Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director Vaude: "We feel very connected with the Z generation. We are interested in how the kids see outdoor - and if they want outdoor at all. In order for us to be able to rethink outdoor for Generation Z in the long term, we would like to know what they mean by outdoor."
The question of the perfect outdoor weekend could be answered for the Generation Z easily. Oudoor has to be cheap, flexible, environmentally friendly, if possible to the mountains or to the lake and most important: It is there to take a break from your family with your friends.
"The latter is so simple but unfortunately not possible easily", explained Helen from Team VaudeVenture "since we are minors, we are not allowed to spend a weekend without parents, they would violate their duty of supervision. Ironically, it's always our own parents who complain that Generation Z spends too little time in nature."
As a solution the kids present VaudeVenture. A free app for young people between the ages of 12 and 17. It provides overnight accommodations and supervisors. The staff are employees of Vaude, with their own profile (account) within the app - so they can be contacted by concerned parents at any time: This brings security for the parents and freedom for the kids. Stories available on the app enable parents to follow the activities of the kids directly.
The downloaded app asks the kids selected questions, based on the answers the kids are offered suitable outdoor activities. Kids can find out about excursion destinations, create their own profiles and chat with friends.
The kids have also thought about the financial hurdle of expensive outdoor clothing: the app solves this through a shop cooperation so that teenagers can borrow the equipment at a reasonable price.
Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director of Vaude: "The professionalism of the students and their self-confidence are impressive. I was able to learn a lot myself at Next Entrepreneurs - and it was a lot of fun and joy for me personally."
"Today, many young people spend a lot of time in front of their digital devices. We need a connection to nature again. To get this, Generation Z needs a goal for going out. So we need a solution that brings the digital world and nature together," says Team Nature Love in its presentation.
Their solution is the Nature Love app. "It takes Generation Z back to nature and corresponds to the digital age," the kids say. This app refers to the direct, possible activities in nature and at the same time offers an additional incentive via a points system.
- No matter which outdoor activity the kids choose in the app, it will be tracked.
- The outdoor activity to be tracked can be set in a bar: Cycling, hiking, "running around", climbing. Astonishingly for the kids "simply doing nothing in nature" also belongs to it.
- The activity is evaluated according to defined criteria, such as distance or duration. The app user gets fictitious points for it.
- The points are converted into a monetary amount by the system.
- The amount of money can be donated by the user, for example to WWF - or the user buys expensive equipment from it
Another feature is the quiz function. The kids can scan their environment with their mobile phones and play games in the virtual world with this environment platform via Augmented Reality similar to Pokemon Go. The idea of Team Nature Love: Kids can learn important things about nature in their immediate environment in a playful way.
If users want to get in touch with guides, search for tracks, or exchange ideas with like-minded people, they can do so in the corresponding submenu.
The kids also thought about the financial profit of the app: "The app can help the industry to find more customers. How's that? People who like to travel in nature use the app. It learns what these people like and offers them products to match their favorite activities. The chance that the corresponding outdoor products will be purchased is high - in addition, the brand awareness increases due to the advertisements of the sponsors in the app. As the brands support outdoor activities, customers recognize that these brands love nature and therefore act in an environmentally friendly way, so they feel connected to the brand, the brand forms their brand image", the teenagers explain.
With the necessary incentives and possibilities, Generation Z does not seem to be a "Stay-at-home generation" after all.